Even in a down market, some companies are staying smart. Take my hand as we go over some of this week's more uplifting headlines.
1. WOW isn't just an Activision Blizzard game
Gaming isn't dead, apparently.
Analysts figuring that Activision Blizzard's (NAS: ATVI) profitability would slip down to $0.05 a share in its latest quarter were pleasantly surprised to see the country's largest video game developer earn twice as much as they were targeting.
The key to Activision Blizzard's success is a boost in digital sales for its online-enabled franchises. There are chunkier margins to be had there, naturally, and it shows in the gamer fave's revised guidance.
Activision Blizzard now sees earnings of $0.77 a share on revenue of $4.05 billion for all of 2011, bumping its bottom-line outlook at more than twice the pace of its top-line guidance.
2. 605,000 Zipsters can't be wrong
Zipcar (NAS: ZIP) pulled up with a strong showing in its first quarter since going public. Revenue grew by a better than expected 34%, and the auto-sharing service's deficit was lower than analysts were estimating.
This should be yet another lesson for investors when it comes to consumer-facing IPOs. Going public often works wonders when it comes to brand awareness, helping a fast-growing company gain even greater visibility.
Zipcar even managed to grow its revenue at an impressive 25% clip in its four established markets of New York City, Boston, Washington, D.C., and San Francisco. Like Activision Blizzard, Zipcar's strong performance finds it also raising its guidance for 2011.
3. A Krafty move
Are the parts of Kraft Foods (NYS: KFT) worth more than its sum? Investors seem to think so, bidding up the food giant after it revealed that it would be splitting its business into two distinct publicly traded companies.
The market has a point. Kraft will separate its global snacks from its North American grocery business.
Bundling Cadbury chocolates, Oreo cookies, Trident gum, and more into its global snacks division will give investors looking for greater overseas exposure a compelling play. The spinoff brands are currently deriving 42% of their revenue in developing markets, making this a conservative play on emerging markets. Grocery staples -- including Maxwell House coffees, Miracle Whip spreads, and Oscar Mayer meats -- won't pack the same international upside, but should deliver healthier margins.
Web.com (NAS: WWWW) buys Network Solutions, and its stock shoots higher yesterday.
What's the difference between these two online-related buyouts? Well, the Network Solutions purchase will truly transform Web.com. The acquisition will more than double its revenue, and it will also be accretive to earnings.
Web.com claims that Network Solutions will triple its customer base to roughly 3 million, giving it the opportunity to market its existing offerings to far more people. It's a solid deal all around.
5. An Apple a day
It's officially an iPhone world that we live in.
Wireless sales tracker IDC is reporting that Apple (NAS: AAPL) was the biggest manufacturer of smartphones during this past quarter. This may seem obvious to most people hearing iPhone ringers going off in public so often, but keep in mind that this is a global figure.
It's the first time since IDC began tracking smartphone sales that Nokia (NYS: NOK) wasn't on top. The Finnish handset maker is slipping fast, sliding all the way to third place with Samsung taking the silver.
At the time thisarticle was published The Motley Fool owns shares of Zipcar, Apple, and Activision Blizzard, and has written calls on Activision Blizzard. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Zipcar, Activision Blizzard, and Apple; creating a bull call spread position on Apple; and creating a synthetic long position on Activision Blizzard. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz is an optimist at every turn. He does not own shares in any of the stocks in this story. Rick is also part of theRule Breakersnewsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early.
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